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Posted at 08:57 AM ET, 01/29/2013

Letters of Interest: Quinn Cook, former DeMatha standout, discusses the WCAC and his time at Duke

While the majority of this blog focuses on the current crop of area talent, we of course know there are plenty of DMV natives to track at the college and pro levels. To help you stay in the know, we’ll periodically post a rewind of sorts, checking up on some of the stars who once graced the All-Met sports scene.

We’ll get things started this morning with Quinn Cook, a DeMatha and Oak Hill Academy product who is now the starting point guard for Duke. For those who know the 2010 All-Met Player of the Year well, it’s no secret that he’s one of the hardest-working, down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. Heck, the first time I met Cook in 2011, we sat in a locker room jamming to go-go music.


Duke sophomore Quinn Cook, who was named 2010 All-Met Player of the Year while at DeMatha, has emerged as one of the country’s top point guards. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Cook’s drive and fun-loving spirit were put to the test last season. The then-freshman was hindered by a lingering knee injury and struggled to find minutes within Coach K’s system. But after going hard in the offseason, Cook has emerged as one of the nation’s top point guards and averages 11.1 points and 6.2 assists for the fifth-ranked Blue Devils. The sophomore had 11 points and nine assists in Saturday’s win against Maryland to help Duke bounce back from an embarrassing 27-point loss at Miami.

I had a chance to chat by phone with Cook early last week about his adjustment to college, high school memories and what it’s like playing for arguably the most hated program in the country.

Recruiting Insider: What do you think has been the reason for your emergence as a sophomore?

Cook: Hard work. Going into my freshman year, I was injured, so I didn’t have the time in the summer to work out. I really took this last summer to work hard, get back to my roots and tune my game up. I came into this year a lot more confident because of what I did in the summer.

RI: How tough was it to endure the struggles of your freshman year?

Cook: It was real tough. The games are always on TV, so I had tweets from people asking me about playing time or saying different stuff. It was embarrassing, but I had to go through it. It was a very humbling experience. I feel like I grew up as a man because of it because I saw what the bottom was like. For me, it was motivation to work harder.

RI: What’s been your best moment at Duke so far?

Cook: There’s been a lot, actually. Winning a lot of big games, being on the team that Coach K broke the record with his 903 wins, winning the Maui Invitational, winning the Bahamas tournament. Hopefully, there will be more, including a national championship.

RI : What was your favorite part of playing in the D.C. area and how much did it help you going forward?

Cook: The competitiveness. The crowds were always great, and of course that’s something you have at Duke and Cameron [Indoor]. There was lots of trash talking because you had the best players going against the best players and that made all of us better. In the Gonzaga game, I would guard Cedrick Lindsay and [DeMatha alum and current Indiana junior] Victor [Oladipo] would guard [Gonzaga alum and current Duke teammate] Tyler Thornton. It made everybody better. Me and Tyler are so close, but on the court we were trying to kill each other. We definitely benefitted from that.

RI : What’s it like playing at Cameron Indoor and then going on the road as the most hated school?

Cook: Cameron is a dream place to play. It’s like something you dream about your whole life because when you see Cameron Indoor, you want to play there either for or against Duke. It’s always overwhelming running on the court with the crowd around you. On the road, obviously a lot of people hate Duke and we hear a lot of crazy stuff from other fans. To me, it’s fun sometimes because there’s nothing like going into a hostile environment and that’s motivating.

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Now let’s fast forward back to the future with a look at Monday’s action, which included a surprising blowout, an upset and a disappointing victory.

• After their first meeting ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, most figured Monday’s rematch between No. 9 Eleanor Roosevelt and No. 12 DuVal would produce another thriller. Not so much.

Emmanuel Matey made sure that didn’t happen by dishing out a school-record 15 assists in the Raiders’ 88-64 rout of the Tigers. Check out Eric Detweiler’s game story for more details on the Prince George 4A matchup.

• No. 11 W.T. Woodson saw its 12-game win streak and bid for an undefeated run in AAA Patriot District play come to an end Monday in a 57-52 loss to West Potomac.

Based on what I heard from someone who attended the game, the Wolverines used a 21-point third quarter and strong guard play to pull off the upset. Sophomore Kwame Camon led the way with 16 points while Brandon Pressley showed poise by knocking down critical free throws after the Cavaliers had cut the deficit to one with less than a minute to play.

The result adds extra intrigue to Wednesday’s matchup between Woodson and Lake Braddock. The Bruins are now one game behind the first-place Cavaliers in the district standings and have won seven of their last eight games following Monday’s 47-39 win against South County.

• At this stage in the season, with district play in full swing and playoff implications on the line, victories are that much more critical and cherished. But as Roman Stubbs captured in his girls’ basketball game story from Monday’s game between No. 6 Spalding and No. 19 South River, victorious Spalding wasn’t exactly elated after its 55-49 win.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 17

Number of three-pointers hit by Magruder’s Nick Griffin in his last three games. The George Washington recruit nailed seven shots from long range and finished with 26 points in Monday’s win against Northwest.

Monday also saw the return of point guard J.J. Epps, who scored six points after missing seven games with a hand injury. With the way Griffin is playing and Epps back in the fold, it’s hard to see any team stopping the No. 7 Colonels from repeating as Maryland 4A champs.

BREAKFAST LINKS

-Check out this week’s boys’ and girls’ basketball rankings. And while you’re at it, swing by our forum to offer thoughts on whether the tough national schedule for 9-8 DeMatha warrants the Stags a spot in The Post Top 20.

-See who made the cut in the Week 6 edition of our All-Met Watch.

-Peep the top plays of the week that was with host B.J. Koubaroulis.

-Read how Wakefield Coach Tony Bentley pulled a “Coach Carter” and sparked the Warriors’ current success.

-Riverdale Baptist’s Auteaonna Gilmore has sparked the Lady Crusaders to four wins against Top 20 teams.

-North Point is averaging an area-high 94 points per game, but the secret to the Eagles’ success starts on the defensive end.

-Despite losing most of their talent and experience from a year ago, Churchill and Wise have surged into contention this season.

-River Hill, led by capable senior scorer Walt Moody, is primed for its rematch against undefeated Oakland Mills on Wednesday.

-Friendly sophomore rivalry between A.J. Robinson and Lael Davis headlines Tuesday’s AA Dulles District matchup between Tuscarora (Va.) and Dominion.

VIDEO FROM LAST NIGHT

Check out Branden Roth’s video for highlights of Eleanor Roosevelt’s big win against DuVal on Monday led by Emmanuel Matey’s school-record 15 assists.

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

No. 4 Paul VI at No. 1 Gonzaga , 7:30 p.m.

In the season’s first meeting between these WCAC powers, Gonzaga pulled out an 86-79 win despite playing without a suspended Kris Jenkins. Since then, the Eagles have kept winning while Paul VI has gained steam, knocking off national number ones Oak Hill and Montverde. Can the Panthers topple their third top-ranked team on the road?

By Brandon Parker  |  08:57 AM ET, 01/29/2013

 
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